Thekla Walker elected new co-leader of the Greens in Baden-Wuerttemberg
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission
The Greens have grown out of their woolly jumpers and sandals and turned enough fellow Germans on to environmentalism to make the party — already the world’s most successful green movement — the possible kingmakers in the 2013 elections.
Founded three decades ago by rebels from the 1968 student movement, ‘ban-the-bomb’ peaceniks, ecologists and feminists, the Greens got their first taste of power from 1998 to 2005 under Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats (SPD).
But they have come into their own in the past year. A strong run of local elections gave them a presence in all 16 regional assemblies for the first time as well as their first state premier, Winfried Kretschmann, who ousted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) in conservative Baden-Wuerttemberg…
“We have shown that economics and ecology don’t contradict each other — which is a quantitative leap forward,” said party co-leader Claudia Roth in an interview…
The party has climbed to historic highs in opinion polls in the past year of 15-20 percent, from 10.7 percent in the last elections in 2009.
It has now surpassed the current junior coalition partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), to become the third force in a system that has been dominated by the conservatives, now at around 32 percent, and the SPD, who poll as much as 30 percent…
As conservative German voters’ old animosity to the environmentalists fades, “well-educated, higher-income people — the upper-middle class — are moving toward the Greens and forgetting the old ideological barriers between them,” said politics professor Gero Neugebauer at Berlin’s Free University.
Now renewable energy is creating more jobs than traditional industry in parts of former East Germany, the financial crisis has turned once radical Green ideas like financial transactions taxes mainstream, and the Greens side with the once-demonized International Monetary Fund in some areas of financial policy.
RTFA. Lots of detail, anecdotal information.
The German Greens could give lessons to the middle-class radicals in the United States who occasionally play Lets Pretend to be a Political Party.